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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

by Phelim 

Posted: 13 May 2004
Word Count: 462
Summary: A crime based flash fiction story. Editted since its first posting.

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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

It all started with that question. The question that all writers dread. The question that everyone thinks is original and that we do not mind talking about it. Such a simple question, but one that has caused me so much trouble.

What's worse, I ruined my best fountain pen. The pen I've always used to work with. None of this pc, Mac, word processor stuff for me. No, a decent pad of paper and my favourite fountain pen.

I had nothing against the man but he wasn't the first to ask it at the party. Every time I declared myself to be a writer that question came, with its gloss of false interest. Then the ideas for plots. How do you think of plots, are clocks important for alibis. I tried once to say that I wrote romance rather than crime, but got loads of embarrassing questions about sex. I'm not a therapist you know.

And then people would ask my name. “Your not. The one who wrote that book?” I hate that book. I hate that character with his know it all ways and mismatched clothes. I suppose I should have gone home and poisoned him off. Only then people would have wanted me to resurrect him like Conan Doyle did to Holmes.

I had my pen in my hand. People had been warned that I would be there, so they brought their books along. How underhand to organise a book signing without giving me a fee. Soon there was a queue of them. All excited about meeting me. How they were a great fan. How did I think of my plots. And that question.

I suppose I had a brain storm. Writing psychological fiction I must have read about them. But when he asked it I snapped. The fact that his tie was out of date and an offensive colour may have been a factor, that and his bad breath. Any way I was provoked.

I struck a blow. Having read up on pathology and human biology I must have subconsciously gone for a vital spot. But when I struck that blow I did so for writers every where.

If he hadn't asked the question he would be alive now. I never knew there was something in ink that stopped blood clotting. If he hadn't asked the question I would still have my fountain pen. If he hadn't asked the question I would not be experiencing what goes on after the book is finished, what happens to those who-done-it after they have been caught.

But I'll tell you this. People won't be saying “Oh you're a writer. Are you writing anything at the moment?” too soon. And if they do – watch out.

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Comments by other Members

bjlangley at 14:02 on 13 May 2004  Report this post
I liked this, and was wondering what the question would be all the way through.

I particularly enjoyed the penultimate (no pun intended) paragraph, with his loss of the pen a greater concern, and what happens to those who-done-it after the final pages.

All the best,


Phelim at 14:27 on 13 May 2004  Report this post
Cheers Ben.

This story (uneditted I'm sorry to say) has been used in the Crime Writers Association magazine. Yes it did go down well. But this was the first run of the editted version.


ShayBoston at 08:17 on 14 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Phelim,

I read this last night, but my daughter was demanding my attention so I re-read this morning. I enjoyed it a lot, like the touch of black humour. I suppose I'll only know how the writer feels when asked that question if I manage to climb the hill in the first place!

There were a couple of questions marks missing which disrupted the flow a little bit for me, but other than that a very good piece.


Jubbly at 15:38 on 17 May 2004  Report this post
Hi Phelim,

For me, this says a lot about paranoia and writers block. Good stuff, has he become a writer in residence while detained at Her Majestys Pleasure? Great title too.



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